Gov. Mary Fallin is encouraging Oklahomans not to text behind the wheel by declaring September 19 "No Texting While Driving Awareness Day."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 4,000 people were killed in 2010 by accidents involving distracted drivers. Distraction.gov, the official government website for distracted driving, reported texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. The website says sending a text while behind the wheel also takes a driver's eyes off the road for nearly five seconds, the length of time it takes to drive an entire football field.
AT&T and the University of Central Oklahoma teamed up to help students drive safer and make them aware of the dangers of texting and driving. They encouraged students on the UCO campus to sign a pledge not to text and drive, and then presented those signatures during an event Wednesday at the AT&T store on E. 2nd Street in Edmond.
The event also included an online texting while driving simulator, which allowed young drivers to see what happens when they focus on their cell phones while behind the wheel.
The event is in response to a recent survey conducted by AT&T, which found that 75 percent of teens say that texting and driving is a common practice among their peers.